The Fifth Element – Egyptian Temple

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.


RobertMuldoon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I’m working on a paper about The Fifth Element for a conference exploring the reception of ancient Egypt in Sci-Fi, which looks at how Egypt is represented and recreated in the film. Surprisingly it’s not a topic which I can find has had much/any discussion, and the closest I could find are some inaccurate replicas of some of the hieroglyphic inscriptions - so I thought I would start a new research thread!

I’ve been looking at the opening scene, with the archaeologist trying to decipher the hieroglyphs in the temple. This interior set was created at Pinewood, and has three different areas; a colonnade, a large wall with hieroglyphic inscriptions, and the internal chamber. I would love to know what happened to the set once filming wrapped, unlike Stargate or The Mummy I haven’t seen any of the sets come up for auction.

Colonade
This is one of the opening shots of the film, where you can see the columns the best:

FE-SS-23.png


It’s taken a bit of hunting, but this part of the set is based very heavily on the columns of the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak temple (as seen in James Bond The Spy Who Loved Me). Here are some good references I’ve found:
Karnak01.png



Hieroglyphic Wall
This is the section we see the professor studying. I have a lot of work to do here to try to track down the sources, the wall is very complicated and you never get a good shot of it all in sharp focus. There are some pictures of inaccurate replicas of some of the panels but I’ve not been able to find an accurate replica (or even thread on here discussing it), so I will have to start from scratch and make my own diagram. I’ll post that up here when it’s ready.

Here’s a shot of the whole wall:
FE-SS-25.png



Internal Chamber
Interestingly the architecture changes here and the walls have very Star Wars/Blade Runner style motifs:
FE-SS-17.png


There are also some niches with almost Chinese looking horses in them, seen here on the right:
FE-SS-19.png



More details and discussion to follow!
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

RobertMuldoon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Last photo is more of a mix of Incas and Chinese designs than Egyptian's . :unsure:
Yeh it's weird. I think the art dept wanted to make it look 'other' and not Egyptian, like the Mondoshawan built the temple and then the Egyptians were caretakers who decorated the outer section in their usual style.
 

Jintosh

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Sure, they're saying that the Mondoshawan inspired many early civilizations, not just Egyptian. The Mondoshawan themselves wouldn't have writing themselves in their temple, because they believe in symbols to represent large concepts. Not words. They made the 5 elements, but the temple was probably made by human workers, collected from many civilizations.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Regarding the decor I don't know what happened to it, but I was watching a video where the creature effects supervisor explained that all the Monsoshawans had been destroyed and that only him had kept one (7min11). If the Mondoshawan has been destroyed, it may be the same for the sets.
 
Last edited:

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Jintosh

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
You might learn to use video capture software, there are some that will download from YouTube. You can download the video yourself, and then post it yourself, as "UNLISTED".
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

RobertMuldoon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The principle of the temple carved out of the rock is very similar to what the Nabataeans did, a similar example is Qasr al Farid
Yes I think that was the inspiration for the external shot, even if it's not in Egypt!

Regarding the decor I don't know what happened to it, but I was watching a video where the creature effects supervisor explained that all the Monsoshawans had been destroyed and that only him had kept one (7min11). If the Mondoshawan has been destroyed, it may be the same for the sets.
That was super interesting (original link worked for me), thank you for sharing! Such a shame they destroyed all but one of them :(

There is some good concept art and other information about the temple in the 'Story of The Fifth Element' art book. For some reason that book is currently selling for £100-500, but LukaFilm very kindly took me some photos of his copy:
IMG_3488.JPG IMG_3489.JPG IMG_3490.JPG IMG_3491.JPG IMG_3492.JPG IMG_3493.JPG IMG_3494.JPG IMG_3495.JPG IMG_3496.JPG IMG_3497.JPG IMG_3498.JPG
 
Yes I think that was the inspiration for the external shot, even if it's not in Egypt!


That was super interesting (original link worked for me), thank you for sharing! Such a shame they destroyed all but one of them :(

There is some good concept art and other information about the temple in the 'Story of The Fifth Element' art book. For some reason that book is currently selling for £100-500, but LukaFilm very kindly took me some photos of his copy:
View attachment 1431787 View attachment 1431788 View attachment 1431789 View attachment 1431790 View attachment 1431791 View attachment 1431792 View attachment 1431793 View attachment 1431794 View attachment 1431795 View attachment 1431796 View attachment 1431797
With the references of the book we can see the palm capitals much better. They do not resemble those of Karnak, but rather certain from the temple of Horus in Edfou, I do not know if you have had the opportunity to look at this temple. But the patterns on the columns seem more like those of Karnak as you said.

Yes I think that was the inspiration for the external shot, even if it's not in Egypt!


That was super interesting (original link worked for me), thank you for sharing! Such a shame they destroyed all but one of them :(

There is some good concept art and other information about the temple in the 'Story of The Fifth Element' art book. For some reason that book is currently selling for £100-500, but LukaFilm very kindly took me some photos of his copy:
View attachment 1431787 View attachment 1431788 View attachment 1431789 View attachment 1431790 View attachment 1431791 View attachment 1431792 View attachment 1431793 View attachment 1431794 View attachment 1431795 View attachment 1431796 View attachment 1431797
Thank you for sharing the photos of the book in good quality, it seems very interesting even if I haven't had time to read. I also found a video where the book is quickly leafed through. The quality is not very good, but it allows you to see its content if you are looking for something specific. ( I hope this one will be visible for the united states;) ).

 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Top